Fantasy Football Week 1: Last Second Decisions
September 8, 2012 | Kevin Roberts
The first week of fantasy football is here, and while we’re all excited with the potential this Sunday and Monday bring, some of us might be a little nervous about our current lineups.
And it’s completely understandable, as guys like Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson are playing with our heart strings, and numerous fantasy options are dancing a fine line between blowing up in week one or sitting on the bench.
For injuries, roles and a light sleeper watch, read on for your week one last second decisions:
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
What the crap? Why does Foster keep doing this to us? First it was his problematic hammy in 2011, and now his knee? I can’t take this. Regardless, I doubt Foster misses week one, so he’s still a guy you have to play. If you’re really bent out of shape over his status, just toss Ben Tate into your lineup. He’s bound to see a lot of touches against the Dolphins, with or without Foster starting.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
You can pull the plug on Mathews’ week one life support machine. He’s not playing this week. With that said, he’s getting healthier by the day, so you can start pondering what your lineup will look like with him in it come week two.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
I believe All Day is going to suit up for this one, but I’m not assigning him much value. He’s still not 100% and Jacksonville is no cakewalk when it comes to stopping the run. Toby Gerhart is the guy you’ll want in this matchup. Peterson shouldn’t have anything more than 3rd down value.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Lynch’s back has been bothering him all week, so there’s a chance he’s quite limited on Sunday, even if he does play. That could give rookie back Robert Turbin some sweet value, while Lynch sitting could offer up top-15 potential for Turbin against the Cardinals’ weak run D.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mendy is racing back from a torn acl, but I think reports suggesting a possible Sunday return are fairly skewed. He’s on a torrid pace, but he’d be foolish to suit up for this one. Stay away from him this week and lean on Jonathan Dwyer instead of Isaac Redman.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
J-Stew is still riding a mangled ankle, but his status isn’t quite as bleak as it appeared earlier in the week. He missed a ton of practice, though, so he’s super sketchy for week one. He might still play, but I’d rather just play it safe and roll with DeAngelo Williams against the Buccaneers’ incredibly soft run defense.
Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland Browns
T-Rich has practiced every day this week and is officially listed as questionable for week one versus the Eagles. I think he plays, but this is still a rookie on the Browns we’re talking about. His role is a bit in question, so treat him more as a flex for his pro debut.
Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Beanie is a late addition to the week one injury report, making him an even tougher play against a brutal Seahawks rush defense. I’d rather take a chance on Ryan Williams at this point.
Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots
Vereen has been banged up for a while and is a long-shot to play this week, possibly cementing Stevan Ridley in as a top-15 option this week.
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders
Moore flashed great explosive ability in 2011, so many of us can’t wait to see what he can do in year two. Unfortunately, there’s a chance we’ll have to keep on waiting until week two, as he’ll be a game time call against the Chargers on Monday Night Football. I’d rather take a risk on someone else like Kendall Wright or Austin Collie this week.
Austin Collie, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Collie gave us a scare with his fourth concussion in the past two years, but it appears he’ll be ready to face the Bears this week. Be sure that he’s active, but if he is, he could be a nice sleeper against a fairly soft Chicago pass defense.
Washington Redskins Running Backs
Just stay away from this mess altogether until the needle emerges out of the hay all by itself. I’m not excited about shooting in the dark every week with this team, as Mike Shanahan continues to torment our fantasy souls. Evan Roster is the listed starter, but that doesn’t mean jack. If you must play a ‘Skin back in week 1, go with the more explosive Roy Helu.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD is back, but not in his full bone-crushing capacity. Instead, he’ll get the red-headed step child treatment for at least one week and be stuck to strict third down duties. That means Rashad Jennings is the preferred play of the two to start the season, although both may find little success against a solid Vikings run defense on the road.
- Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden says he’ll be shadowing DeSean Jackson on Sunday. It could just be a line, but if he is, you may want to think twice about rolling with D-Jax. If that’s the case, Jeremy Maclin could be in for a big day.
- If you hadn’t taken notice, Willis McGahee, Cedric Benson, Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush and Fred Jackson all have extremely questionable matchups with tough run defenses. I’d still roll with Jamaal Charles and maybe even Hillis, but I might refrain from the others if I can.
- Peyton Manning’s return is a cause for great joy and parades with four men under a dragon costume. Heck, you could even toss in a floating Spider-man and a float of college cheerleaders pulled by a brand new Chevy. Joyous for a moment, but that moment may not last. Manning and his Broncos face last year’s #1 ranked pass defense in the Steelers. Sunday Night Football might be a disaster for Manning. On the bright side, Manning has one less concern this week, as James Harrison won’t be able to make it back for week one.
- Don’t forget that Titan’s stud receiver Kenny Britt is suspended for week one. Make sure he’s out of your lineups, and feel free to use either Nate Washington or Kendall Wright as a suitable replacement.